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NBC “The Blacklist” star Hisham Tawfiq sits down with Prestige

SYLVIA:        Can you just give us a little background information on Hisham the man? HISHAM:      Well, I’m born and raised in Harlem, New York which I’m extremely proud of. You know, oldest son of five brothers and I also have a 15-year-old son who I love and adore. And, that’s a skeleton of…

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SYLVIA:        Can you just give us a little background information on Hisham the man?

HISHAM:      Well, I’m born and raised in Harlem, New York which I’m extremely proud of. You know, oldest son of five brothers and I also have a 15-year-old son who I love and adore. And, that’s a skeleton of Hisham the man.

SYLVIA:        Who was your greatest inspiration and what were some of the events that sparked your interest in pursuing your present career?

HISHAM:      Mm, great question. I think my greatest inspiration, I would have to say, my parents. I think I watched what my father did, myself and five boys, you know, back in the ’70s in Harlem with drugs and poverty and all types of other negative elements that were running rampant in Harlem, and just to see how he was able to carve out a safe zone for us and install in us some integrity and some skill, some life skills, that to this day I still benefit from, those are the things that encourage me and have carved out the man I am to this day. So, I continue to look up to my father and my mother for everything, all the values that they installed in me.

SYLVIA:        So, what were some of the events that sparked your interest in pursuing the acting career?

HISHAM:      Wow, I would say, you know, the funny thing at a very early age, you know, being the oldest of five boys you kind of already put on a platform of setting the example. I  remember, I think, the first thing my father did with me is, you know, he put me in Karate class and swimming class, and I would always have to, like, perform for the family, like, all of the Kotters, that I learned. So, I would say, you know, just at that early age I would say maybe like seven or eight just performing these Karate moves that already prepared me in some way for the stage, and from there it just continued to grow, and I think I’ve always had some hunger or some desire to express myself artistically and it just started off with Karate and poems, and the next thing you know you’re dancing and speaking, and acting, but I would say, you know, performing those Karate moves  from the early age was probably my first inspiration and steps into acting.

SYLVIA:        We also see that you have undertaken some also very different career paths, some which include your serving our country and keeping us safe as a Marine, a firefighter, and a correctional officer. Have these careers played a part on the impact in of your acting career as well?

HISHAM:      Yeah, I mean, I think the beautiful thing about that, you know, as an actor, you know, what they teach you and the greatest asset is your experiences and being able to call on those experiences to help you on different roles, and I didn’t know it then, but when I  look back at it now being a firefighter, being a Marine, being a correction officer, all of those different things make up the man that I am, so I’m able to call on a lot of those experiences and, you know, it installs a lot of things, all of those jobs are physically demanding, mentally demanding, takes a lot of endurance, and I carry all of those things with me in my career. As you know, there’s a lot of times you have late nights, you have early mornings, five in the morning, you don’t get up until four AM the next morning, so, I mean, all of those things I just carried over, so it helped me out extremely.

SYLVIA:        We also just want to congratulate you on your recurring role on NBC’s The Blacklist. Can you give us a brief description of your character, his mannerisms, and what he brings to the cast?

HISHAM:      Well, Dembe, he’s silent, he’s quiet, but he’s one of those guys that when he gets called upon you know that the job is going to be done and that somebody is in trouble. So, Dembe brings a lot of mystery, he brings a lot of strength, he brings a lot of loyalty, he’s trustworthy. He’s a security, it’s almost like having that alarm system on your house or your car, you just know if you have that good system in there that, whether you are around or not, if something happens that alarm system is going to activate and some forces are going to be unleashed. So, I would describe Dembe is that alarm system.

READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW IN PRESTIGE JANUARY 2015 ISSUE or BY CLICKING THE COVER BELOW

Malinda Williams

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Capitol Rioter Screams at Cops Asking Them to Call for Backup to Combat Mob

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Not every Trumper at the U.S. Capitol was down with the siege … or at least so it appears based on this one MAGA cap-wearing man’s convo with Capitol Police in the middle of the riot.

Check out this clip that just surfaced from Jan. 6, when the guy approached a group of Capitol Police officers who were standing off to the side … while the mob stormed into the building.

The man’s words here are telling … he asks why the cops are letting this happen, and why they haven’t called for backup — noting this is the U.S. FREAKIN’ CAPITOL THAT’S BEING INVADED, and that these people storming it are “out for blood.”

Anyway, the officers didn’t seem to respond at all, and the man continued his diatribe … telling them that if no extra help was on the way, it means they don’t care about what’s happening to the Capitol.

A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump smashes a window using a baseball bat during a “Stop the Steal” protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. U.S. January 6, 2021. Picture taken January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

The whole thing is pretty ironic — a clear Trump supporter right in the thick of the action denouncing the act of breaching the premises. Now, we have no idea what his motives were here, or if he was genuinely separating himself from the illegal activity.

We’ll say this … he does seem to rejoin the mob as the video ends, but we have no way of knowing if he actually went inside the Capitol.

As we first reported, the FBI is investigating a possible Capitol inside job that allowed the siege to take place. And, of course, the Capitol Police Chief resigned too … not to mention multiple suspensions and firings that have taken place since.

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Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell says Trump provoked deadly Capitol riot

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  • President Donald Trump and others provoked the swarms of his supporters that stormed the U.S. Capitol, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
  • McConnell’s remarks came as he and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer work to hash out details on Trump’s impending impeachment trial.
  • The remarks also came the day before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as president.
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather at the west entrance of the Capitol during a “Stop the Steal” protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. U.S. January 6, 2021. Picture taken January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

President Donald Trump and others provoked the swarms of his supporters that stormed the U.S. Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, which two weeks earlier had been evacuated after the crowd of rioters invaded the building.

The remarks from McConnell, R-Ky., came as he and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., worked to hash out details on Trump’s impending impeachment trial. Trump was impeached in the Democrat-led House last week in a 232-197 vote, with 10 Republicans voting in favor of impeachment.

Trump is the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

The GOP leader made the direct link between the Republican president’s rhetoric and the Jan. 6 riot, which left five dead, the day before President-elect Joe Biden was set to be sworn in as the 46th president.

McConnell has rebuffed pressure from Democrats to hold that trial before Trump leaves office, but he has told colleagues that he is undecided on whether Trump should be convicted in the Senate for inciting the riot.

McConnell’s remarks also suggested that other leaders bore responsibility for the attack. A growing chorus of critics have called on some lawmakers, especially GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, to resign after they objected to key states’ electoral results.

McConnell had congratulated Biden on his victory in mid-December, more than a month after the Nov. 3 election.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on McConnell’s latest remarks.

Trump, who exhorted the crowd at a rally outside the White House to “fight like hell” and head to the Capitol to overturn the 2020 election, has insisted that his remarks just before the riot were “totally appropriate.”

In that speech, Trump repeated the incendiary and false claim that he had been robbed of reelection by widespread electoral fraud. He once again vowed that he would never concede to Biden, and he urged his supporters to go to the Capitol to “cheer on” Republican lawmakers who had vowed to object to the results.

“We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” Trump also said.

Many of his supporters attending that rally walked directly across the National Mall to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress had convened to confirm Biden’s Electoral College victory. Rioters broke through barricades and lines of law enforcement officers and entered the Capitol, forcing Congress into hiding. Among them was Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the event.

After McConnell’s remarks, Schumer said on the Senate floor that “Donald Trump should not be eligible to run for office ever again.”

“Healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability,” Schumer said.

“There will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate, there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors, and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again,” Schumer said.

Trump, who has acknowledged the coming end to his one term in office without conceding to Biden, has not called his successor, nor has he invited him to the White House before the inauguration.

Pence last week called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to congratulate her and offer his assistance before she is sworn in.

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Investigators looking into planning of Capitol riot

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Federal authorities are working to determine the level of planning and coordination among insurgents, including members of law enforcement and the military, that carried out the attack last week on the US Capitol, law enforcement officials said.Among the questions federal prosecutors and investigators are pursuing: Was there a plan to capture and hold hostage members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose name was invoked in angry chants by people who stormed a joint session of Congress to try to stop certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump. People in military-style gear, some carrying zip-tie restraints, were seen in videos and photos participating in the ransacking of the Capitol, raising the question of whether capturing lawmakers — or even Vice President Mike Pence — was the goal, according to a federal law enforcement official.

Two men carrying plastic restraints during Capitol riot charged by fedsActing US Attorney Michael Sherwin told NPR that “hundreds” of people could be facing charges, from destruction of property to murder, for participating in the insurrection. Sherwin said that there would be some challenges because hundreds of suspects were able to leave the scene.”I don’t want this tyranny of labels saying this was sedition, this was a coup,” Sherwin said.Before the Trump rally on Wednesday, federal and local law enforcement agencies shared raw intelligence showing that some people associated with extremist groups, including some with White supremacist ideologies, were expected to flock to Washington at Trump’s urging, according to law enforcement officials briefed on the intelligence. One official said the regional level intelligence reports were broadly shared, including with the US Capitol Police. But the officials said, none of the intelligence reports suggested any plots to attack the Capitol. Much of the information was so-called open-source reporting, based on social media and extremist sites on the Internet, where discussions among planned rally-goers shared some of Trump’s false claims about a stolen election.close dialog

WASHINGTON DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES – 2021/01/06: Protesters seen all over Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters riot and breached the Capitol. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. Police used batons and tear gas grenades to eventually disperse the crowd. Rioters used metal bars and tear gas as well against the police. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“It was a lot of noise, like there always is,” said one federal law enforcement official who reviewed intelligence reports from before the Trump rally.More than 20 arrests on federal charges made since Wednesday have largely focused on some of the relatively easy to identify insurrectionists, many of whom proudly posted on social media or even livestreamed their participation, law enforcement officials said.The harder work now is to try to build potential domestic terrorism cases against people who helped engineer the attack, one federal law enforcement official said.In a news conference Friday, a federal prosecutor in Washington told reporters that investigators in some cases are using initial charges to try to arrest people, while they continue to investigate what other possible charges to bring.That includes looking into possible foreign ties for some suspects; one woman arrested asked for a Russian translator during her court hearing last week.”The goal here is to really to identify people and get them at least what we call placeholder charges initially and then we look deeper into how these individuals came here, how much planning was involved, and any actors domestic or foreign,” said Ken Kohl, the acting principal assistant US Attorney in Washington.Amid that effort is an equally urgent one to prepare for more potential violence from groups that are planning to come to Washington before and during the Biden inauguration.The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies are redoubling efforts to try to identify people who could be planning violence.The fact Wednesday’s mob managed to overwhelm an unprepared Capitol Police force has likely emboldened others who may want to try something similar either in Washington, or in states around the country, officials say. That includes foreign terrorist groups that have always had the US Capitol as a top target.

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